Comedian to walk line between blue-collar, sitcom star
Veteran “Simpsons” scribe-producer Sam Simon is teaming with former “Mad TV” star Artie Lange to develop a DreamWorks TV-produced laffer that’s headed to NBC.Peacock is negotiating a deal for the project, which would feature Lange as a man caught between his blue-collar roots and his current life as a moderately successful sitcom star. Half-hour skein would be based in part on Lange’s own experiences as a New Jersey guy who has found success via “Mad TV” and his current gig as Howard Stern’s comedy sidekick. Simon and Lange will write and exec produce, with Frank Sebastiano (“Saturday Night Live”) on board as a writer and producer. Peter Principato and Paul Young — who rep Lange along with UTA — also will serve as producers. Project has a six-figure penalty attached if it’s not picked up to pilot, along with a script commitment and a talent hold component for Lange. “Artie is someone we’ve been chasing all year long, and we’re real excited about doing a show with him,” said NBC senior VP of comedy Joann Alfano. “We don’t have this man’s voice on NBC, and we need to.” DreamWorks TV’s Justin Falvey said he and studio co-topper Darryl Frank are “psyched” about working with Lange and Simon. “Artie’s one of the few people out there right now who really has a specific point of view,” Falvey said. “He’s hysterically funny, and we’re excited the deal has come together as it has with Sam and Frank.” Skein will have Lange — who also appeared on ABC’s now-dead “Norm” — living in a New Jersey condo filled with what Alfano called “yupscale folks” very different from the type of people Lange’s character is used to associating with. Character’s mother also will play a key part in his life. “It’s one of the funniest, most enjoyable (shows) we’ve been pitched this year,” Alfano said. “We’re just pleased by the whole package.” UTA-repped Simon is a consulting producer on “The Drew Carey Show” and remains an exec producer on “The Simpsons,” which he developed with creator Matt Groening and exec producer James L. Brooks. On the feature front, Lange recently completed production on DreamWorks’ Will Ferrell/Luke Wilson pic “Old School.” He starred opposite Norm Macdonald in “Dirty Work.” Endeavor-repped Sebastiano’s other credits include “The Chris Rock Show” and “Norm.”
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